Transitional solutions and achievement of VET qualifications. A case study of the canton of Ticino

Zanolla, Giovanna (2022) Transitional solutions and achievement of VET qualifications. A case study of the canton of Ticino. In: Naegele, Christof and Kersh, Natasha and Stalder, Barbara E., (eds.) Trends in Vocational Education and Training Research. Vocational Education and Training Network (VETNET), pp. 197-205. ISBN 979-8844516740

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Context: this contribution focuses on the group of youngsters living in the Swiss canton of Ticino who, after the lower secondary school, attend one or more of the “transitional solu-tions” included in the Institute of Transition and Support (ITS). This institute aims at meet-ing the needs of youngsters with personal frailties, academic difficulties, at social risk, with cultural adaptation difficulties and with complicated families and relationships. It supports them in the transition from compulsory school to post-compulsory education, promotes their integration into professional and social life and helps them in starting, maintaining and fin-ishing a first basic vocational training and in containing the risk of failure in their training, by providing them with educational support. Approach: the pathways of all the youngsters which have started and attended at least one of the transitional solution included in the ITS in Ticino in the period between the school year 2014/15 and 2016/17 (1280 youngsters) are examined through a longitudinal analysis. Their access to the VET and the successful completion of the apprenticeship with the achievement of a certain qualification or, on the contrary, its interruption and the eventual reorientation or dropout by the end of 2020 are highlighted. Vocational pathways are put into relation to the type of transitional solution attended, which in turn depends on the needs and on the characteristics of youngsters. Data used belong to the Ticino’s Department of Education, Culture and Sport, who has developed an application that makes available - in the form of database - student-specific information, including data on the student’s past and current training, subjects studied and end of the year results. Findings: of the 1280 youngsters who attended the ITS, 60% have begun at least an appren-ticeship in the three-year period 2016-2018. The outcome of the apprenticeship, i.e. whether it has been completed or interrupted or it is still in progress, varies according to the transi-tional solution attended. Almost 40% of the apprenticeships begun by those who only at-tended the Orientation pre-apprenticeship or the Semester of motivation or the Integration pre-apprenticeship were completed by the end of 2020, while half were abandoned. Conclusion: Transitional solution are important footholds for young people in difficulty when accessing and completing an apprenticeship after compulsory school. However 40% of youngsters who have attended ITS do not access to any VET and in the cases in which they succeed to access, the percentage of interrupted apprenticeships is higher than in the total population and non-compliance with duties and disagreement between the contracting par-ties are more frequent reasons for dropout. Notwithstanding the ITS measures, a percentage of youngsters is not successful, probably because they have a lack of social skills that cannot always be overcome.

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